Less teacher talk means better student behavior

By Tim Bedley

2012-12-13 14.30.54Have you been around teachers who constantly yack at their students? Give them command after command after command? Have you noticed students in these classes tend to misbehave more?

Teachers with effective classroom discipline choose their words carefully and use as few of them as possible. Commands are brief and used only when essential.

Of course, classroom discipline is extremely complex and cannot be narrowed down to one factor, but a teacher who understands this concept will increase her effectiveness.

Train your students in classroom procedures instead of relying on spur-of-the-moment teacher directives. Use gestures to signal your kids. Be careful, or you will become the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher and your students will tune you out.

Why do you shake with respect when a police officer walks up to your window? “Do you know why I pulled you over? License and registration.” Imagine a police officer standing on the corner¬†incessantly¬†lecturing everyone that went by. The effect would be greatly diminished.

Classroom Snippets:

  • The teacher wants a student from across the room to close the door. She looks at the student and makes a swinging door motion with her hand and then points to the door.
  • The students come in the room loudly after lunch. Instead of giving the kids a big lecture about how many times they’ve been told, the teacher says, “Our class comes into buildings silently. Go outside and do it correctly.”
  • Several students turned in math papers without names. Instead of berating the class for their laziness, the teacher says, “Please stand if I say your name.” After reading all the names from the math papers, the teacher says, “These students followed directions by putting their names on their math papers. Go take a ticket.” Then the teacher lays the remaning papers on the floor and points to them while looking at the class.
  • A student is talking instead of working independently. The teacher calls the student’s name, beckons the student, and then says, “Sit up here and do your work.”

Watch a video of Tim teaching.